Sunday 13 October 2013

Imli Street, Wardour Street

After a long day dodging drizzle (hasn’t the weather suddenly changed?) a good old comforting curry was just what I needed. I met a friend at Soho’s Imli Street, Indian street food specialists, and boy, were we hungry.

Imli Street is all about selection. With a huge range of drinks as well as food, the menu has something for everyone, whether you’re a meat eater, a veggie, a cocktail lover, a non-drinker, or simply just trying to be good with what you eat (… or not!)

But with variety comes indecision, and I took forever to make up my mind! I turned to the waiter for help, but as he didn’t seem to be able to pronounce the names or recognise the dishes, I was in it alone. He did advise, however, that we choose two dishes, a side and a bread each. Between the two of us, we ordered the Boti (lamb) Kebabs, Paneer Tikka, Railyway Lamb (an Anglo-Indian lamb curry), Junglee Salad (chicken tikka, pear, baby spinach and walnut with ‘burrani’ dressing), Bagare Baingan (baby aubergines in a cashew sauce), Onion Bhajis and Naan Bread, which all came with a portion of rice and yellow lentils on the house.

Everything was delicious; tasty and tender, without being greasy like your average Indian take-away. I particularly liked the Junglee Salad, which was a new dish to me. It’s nice to order a salad that has interesting ingredients, so you don’t have to put up with soggy leaves to feel you’re being healthy. There were so many good looking dishes on our table in the window that passers-by actually started to stop and backtrack to get a good look. Some even came straight in to get a table (you can thank us later, Imli Street).

The pudding list was too intriguing to resist. After trying to decipher the options, without much luck, my friend took the bold move of suggesting that we went for the most peculiar things on the menu. She ordered Gulab Jamun, warm milk dumplings with pistachio and cardamom syrup, which I remembered trying when I was in India. I went for the Haji Ali Falooda, which confused me completely by arriving in a glass with a straw. Inside the glass was a mixture of malai kulfi (a kind of clotted cream), vermicelli (no, the straw didn’t help much with these), basil seeds and rose syrup. I got to the end, but still can’t quite tell you whether I enjoyed it or not…

Although this is the only branch, the restaurant group also includes Tamarind of Mayfair and Zaika of Kensington. If I still haven’t convinced you that you should try Imli Street, have a look at the gallery on their website – your lips will be smacking in no time.

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